Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 30, 25 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
A look at the Redskins week that was
Looking back at some of our most popular Redskins posts of the week:
Troy Aikman could see RG3 in Cowboys uniform, with one caveat—This is one of those silly season stories, where the former Dallas quarterback says that he could envision either Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel in a Cowboys uniform in 2016. You can’t dismiss it out of hand because of the source. Aikman is wired in to the organization and it’s likely that he has heard of some interest in Griffin on the part of the Cowboys. But that is a long way from a contract offer and Griffin agreeing to go to a situation where he would have to go and wait for the starter to get injured before getting a chance to play. Tony Romo isn’t going to get benched.
Which Redskin might be a surprise cap casualty in 2016?—The Redskins will have some cap room to work with and they will have more when they release Griffin. But there are some high-priced vets who might need to be released to create some more room to be able to sign Kirk Cousins, perhaps extend Jordan Reed, and add some needed players in free agency. Check out the post to see who Tandler and Tarik think could go.
How many draft picks do the Redskins have?—We’re still about three months away from the draft but interest is high which is why this draft basics post got so many page views. There are probably two or three dozen players that Scot McCloughan could take with their first pick, which is No. 21 overall. It seems like every fan has his or her favorite. We’ll talk about the draft plenty in the months leading up to it and, of course, during and after.
Giving odds on the return or departure of every Skins' free agent—Free agency comes well before the draft and the Redskins have 16 players with expiring contracts. Some will be back, many won’t. We looked at every Redskins pending free agent and the odds of him being back in burgundy and gold for the 2016 season.
Ertz contract gives Redskins guidance on new deal for Reed—Jordan Reed isn’t going to be a free agent this year but the Redskins may look to lock up their standout tight end before he is. They got some help in figuring out what a deal with Reed should look like when the Eagles locked up Zach Ertz, their top tight end, through 2021 a year before his rookie contract expired. They have comparable career numbers up to this point but Reed is considered to be more of an impact player and he likely will make more than Ertz, who got a five-year deal worth $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed.
—The Redskins last played a game 20 days ago. It will be about 225 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 25; NFL free agency starts 39; 2016 NFL draft 89
In case you missed it
After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.
Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.
Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either.
RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW
Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return.
Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games.
The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury.
MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS
For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond.
The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.
Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it.
- Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come.
- Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions.
- Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus.
Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-
We didn't spend last week playing checkers.
News & Notes:
- Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
- The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed.
- D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
- Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week.
- Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.
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